Cat owners whose feline friends venture outdoors know the grim feeling they experience when little Sylvester proudly presents a bird it's just killed. Never a fun moment, if you're a fan of birds.

A recent study, though, may offer hope for fewer queasy moments for such owners. Catherine Hall, a Murdoch University School of Veterinary and Life Sciences PhD student, led a study that examined the possibility that placing colorful collar covers on cats might help alert wildlife to their presence.

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For the study, Hall and her team used three different collar cover colors (rainbow, red, and yellow) from the company Birdsbesafe. The idea behind the collars is that animals with good color vision -- such as birds, reptiles and amphibians -- will catch sight of the encroaching colors and have a chance to escape capture.

With help from owners, who reported on the types of prey their pets killed, the research team studied 114 pet cats, across two years' worth of their outdoor hunting in suburban Australia. The scientists looked at all three collar colors and found a 54% overall reduction in the successful capture of prey, with rainbow and red being the most effective warning colors.

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Mammals with less adept color vision, such as rats and mice, did not experience the same life-saving heads-up, as the team found no decrease in their successful predation by the collared cats.

The collars are "best used by owners whose cats catch a lot of birds and lizards and either don't catch a lot of mice and rats, or their owners don't care whether they catch mice and rats," Hall said, in a post on Phys Org.

It seems the cats did not mind the collars too much. The team found 79% of the cats' owners reported their pets did not exhibit any problems wearing them, while another 17% said their felines adjusted to the collar within two days.

The team's study was published recently in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science.

Hat tip Phys Org.